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Electricity thefts keep happening in Korea to mine cryptocurrencies

University computer rooms vulnerable to theft

  • Min Seo-yeon
  • 2019-02-08 15:39:25
Electricity thefts keep happening in Korea to mine cryptocurrencies

A university in Ulsan, an industrial city in Korea’s southeastern region, has embarked on an investigation after finding that someone engaged in cryptocurrency mining at a computer room.

According to the university Thursday, an informant recently uploaded a posting at a social media platform reading: “Bitcoin is being mined at a university CAD (computer-aided design) room.”

“I discovered a program called ‘HoneyMiner’ on a computer monitor at the CAD room and clicked it. It was a program intended to mine Bitcoin and Monero (XMR),” said the informant, adding that “I also obtained a record showing that the program had been in operation for three days at least after being installed on Jan. 25.”

Based on the tip-off, the university conducted an investigation and discovered that the crypto mining program was installed at 27 computers. The crypto mining program needs much more electricity than ordinary programs because many computers must be in operation simultaneously and data processing is complicated. So it is presumed that the suspected electricity thief used tens of powerful university computers that can be in operation simultaneously and don’t oblige payments of electricity bills.

“The computer room is a facility for all university students. We will try to look for the alleged thief who installed the program and ask the police to investigate the case,” a university official said.

On Jan. 28, police arrested two researchers without physical detention on charges of mining Bitcoin via computers at a university lab in South Gyeongsang Province. They are accused of operating 13 computers secretly to mine Bitcoin from May 2016 through last November. The relevant university confirmed their crime through an in-house tip-off and asked them to pay 5.7 million won in stolen power while reporting the case to police. /minsy@decenter.kr


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